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The Shieldbearer
by Bill Shurkey
07/06/04
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They call me ‘shield bearer’ and thick
in the battle am I. Fiery darts attack me
in a frontal assault. It is doubt. Fast and
furious the darts come. I can feel their
heat as they fall around me. The night sky in
this valley of death is aflame with them,
like some ghoulish celebration of victory.


The enemy will not have the victory. He will
not! Straining shoulder muscles, I raise
the shield higher and higher still. Now the
left flank attacks. It is fear and
anxiety. Now on the right apathy and complacency.
One strikes the shield and I pull
it out. I am surprised it feels neither hot nor


cold to the touch. My fingers grow numb from
the weight of the shield. I dare not lose
my grip for ‘shield bearer’ is my name. It’s my
heritage and I will prevail. I stand my
ground and watch the incoming darts. Fiery
fingers ... pointing, accusing. Whizzing
and sizzling around me. My legs grow weary as I


shift left then right then left again. Blood,
sweat and tears turn the dusty battle-
field to miry clay. I am exhausted but dare not
retreat. My orders are to hold the
position, to stand. In the darkness behind me I
hear a noise that I’ve been expecting.
It's the one sound of all sounds that I dread


most. The hammerlock of the sniper’s gun. His
name is called ‘hopelessness.’ A dart
from the right flank finds its mark. I quickly
pull it out and tense up. Every nerve
ending at attention, listening. Even shield
bearers become casualties but I refuse to
be taken. I will hold my position. I will hold
my position. I will---what was that?
Footsteps in the brush behind me. Breathing.
Quiet. Controlled. Like the hissing of
a snake. Deadly. Why does the enemy treat every


battle like a major campaign? This is only one
confrontation. Only one. God, I’m
tired. Faith. More faith. I’ve got to keep up
my shield. How much longer, Lord? My
arm is quivering. My leg muscles cramping. I’m
surrounded. Captain, where are you? In
the darkness behind me the sniper snickers.



Jesus help! I need you! I know you call me
‘shield bearer’ but the shield is so
heavy. I must not give up. I won’t give up.
‘Shield-bearer’ is my name and I have
been commanded to stand. And I will stand until
I have been relieved of duty. But Jesus
I’m so tired ... so very tired. Please help me to
Stand.




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Member Comments
Member Date
Zillah Williams 22 Sep 2004
A topic close to my heart. Those fiery darts - and the shield of faith that protects us from them!! You've identified several of the common 'darts'. I agree with Jacqui, though, that 'twould be good to have a line at the end showing that we aren't alone. You certainly have captured the feeling of the heat of the battle - very, very, well.
Jacky Hughes 06 Jul 2004
The content of this is great but it is hard to read as it is. I would have broken it up a bit more though I know that would make it long. I think however the content would be more accessible and that would justify the length of the poem. Such an important topic. I wonder at the end. The speaker is tired. I think I would have liked another few lines - something of victory of Jesus to end on a more positive note but that is just a personal thing probably.




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